The Social Contexts of Criminal Sentencing by Martha A. Myers

By Martha A. Myers

Historically, the declaration and invocation of legal consequences have been public spectacles. at the present time, worry of crime and disaffection with the felony justice approach ensure that this public fascination with punishment keeps. some time past decade, almost each legislature within the kingdom has undertaken sentencing reform, within the desire that public drawback with crime will be allayed and dispari­ ties in legal sentences will be diminished if no longer eradicated. students have intensified their longstanding preoccupation with discrimination and the resources of disparate remedy in the course of sentencing - concerns that proceed to gas contem­ porary reform efforts. As documented in bankruptcy 1, empirical learn on sen­ tencing has focused a lot of its cognizance at the criminal. only in the near past have makes an attempt been made to imbed sentencing in its broader organizational and social contexts. Our learn extends those makes an attempt by means of quantitatively studying the connection among the criminal and the social contexts within which she or he is sentenced. We use information on legal sentencing in Georgia among 1976 and 1985 to invite 3 questions. the 1st addresses a subject of perennial hindrance: in the course of sentencing, how vital are criminal attributes, either these of specific felony relevance and features whose criminal relevance is questionable or nonexistent? the second one query directs recognition to the social contexts of sentencing and asks whether or not they without delay have an effect on sentencing outcomes.

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The plaintiffs, who were black, charged that the prison facilities were unconstitutional. S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia agreed, and condemned conditions at Reidsville as constituting cruel and unusual punishment. In particular, he focused on segregation, overcrowding, poor medical care, miserable conditions, and unfair treatment of black and white inmates. Desegregation was ordered on April 10, 1974. Litigation on medical care and living conditions continued, and consent orders (remedial decrees) were issued from Alaimo's office in 1978.

On the basis of the literature, we focus on court bureaucratization and selected characteristics of sentencing judges. 4 presents these dimensions. Court Bureaucratization As noted earlier, Weberian and conflict theories offer quite different expectations about the role bureaucratization plays during sentencing. To date, however, we lack strong empirical evidence that would permit us to evaluate either argument. , Hagan, 1977) has seldom measured bureaucratization directly. Nor has it differentiated bureaucratization from the urbanization of the surrounding community.

After entering this variable into preliminary models that included case, county, and court variables, we found that imprisonment was used more often and split sentences were more severe among cases where judicial information had been aggregated. These differences, although significant, were slight. 04. We also compared models that controlled for type of judicial information with models that did not include the variable. There were virtually no differences in the effects the remaining case, county, and court variables had on sentences.

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